May 2017 13

Lord of the Lost - EmpyreanLord of the Lost
Category: Industrial / Goth / Metal
Album: Empyrean
Stars: 4.5
Blurb: An apocalyptic sci-fi concept album that bridges together elements of classical, industrial, goth/rock, and even prog into a cohesive package that may signal an era of much deserved wider recognition for Lord of the Lost.


 

After leaving behind the electro/industrial leanings of UnterArt, Chris Harms embarked on a new musical journey with Lord of the Lost in 2006, crafting his own darkly inspired, harshly sensual world of gothic metal. Though never completely devoid of electronic accompaniment, Lord of the Lost presented a much more bombastic and kitschy approach that placed the band alongside the likes of Deathstars, Turmion Kätilöt, or Gothminister. However, with the aid of electronic duo Formalin and Benjamin Lawrenz as co-producers, Harms and his cohorts have crafted an ambitious sci-fi concept album that sees the band pursuing a fuller range of musical influences; blending elements of industrial, dance, glam, and even prog, Empyrean plunges the listener into a dystopian setting at the end of the world.

After a brief overture of distorted horns and clanging industrial rhythms, the pummeling riffs and beats of “Miss Machine” enter, and there can be no denying that this is a Lord of the Lost production at its finest. Harms’ seething voice alternating between a raspy baritone croon in the verses to an impassioned growl in the chorus sets the stage for the whole of the album, demonstrating the dichotomy of melodic beauty with aggressive bombast that has become a trademark of the band’s past work. Similarly, “Raining Stars” enters with a rhythmic cadence that along with Harms’ gritty yet seductive vocal ensnares the listener in a haunting ambience that explodes into a chorus that is sure to be a live show stopper, with the line “We turn this nightmare into bliss” perhaps best defining Lord of the Lost’s aesthetic. Of course, as one might expect, this dynamic is truly felt in the slower, more wistful moments on ballads like “In Silence” or “The Interplay of Life and Death,” and this is certainly so as those tracks are almost majestic in their bittersweet atmospheres. Even more so this can be said of “Black Oxide” as Harms duets with Scarlet Dorn, the juxtaposition of masculine and feminine force elevating the song above its pop melancholy into something more harrowing. And then you have a track like “Doomsday Disco,” which is quite brazen in its simplicity and straightforwardness, the chants of “We are the dance floor” sure to become a mantra for fans as the song is almost destined to become a hit both live and in many a DJ set list, while the 1-2-3-4 lyrical count-off in “Drag Me to Hell” could rival that of Front 242’s “Headhunter.”

Throughout Empyrean, the band’s infectious brand of industrialized gothic metal is made all the more palpable with the infusion of classical elements that lend an almost operatic grandeur to the proceedings. For instance, while the descending synth/guitar riff of “The Love of God” makes for a delicious fanfare that anchors the song’s brutal melodic hooks, the underlying keyboard arpeggios in this song and others like “Utopya” and “Interstellar Wars” bear a resemblance to Wendy Carlos’ synthesized variations of Beethoven and Rossini from A Clockwork Orange. It’s an effective creative touch that adds a touch of class and whimsy and at the same time makes the music a little more disturbing in its darkly tragicomic narrative. This is perhaps best exemplified by the second disc in the deluxe edition, subtitled The Final Chapter of Mankind, which almost serves on its own as a soundtrack to the cataclysm with each track taking on the character of movements in a industrial/metal symphony. For example, “Adonai” begins the proceedings as a mournful solo violin gains in tension, the track building from classical piano, brass, and strings to a crescendo of vicious riffs, while “Lost in Oblivion” seems dominated machinegun riffs and beats before shifting into a disconcerting waltz or strings and keyboard arpeggios, making for one of the album’s most decidedly complex tracks.

Empyrean rises above the esoteric gaudiness and campiness of past outings, demanding wider recognition as more than just the latest, best produced work from a band with a solid European following; this could very well be a work of art, with Lord of the Lost conjuring up more emotions in the space of a single song than most groups can achieve in a whole album. With music that is as impressive and as forceful in its lyrical and sonic scope, bridging together so many seemingly disparate elements into a cohesive package of devastating gothic/industrial, Lord of the Lost truly deserves to be counted among the greats of modern music.
 
Track list:
Disc 1: Empyrean

  1. Miss Machine
  2. Drag Me to Hell
  3. The Love of God
  4. Raining Stars
  5. In Silence
  6. Black Oxide
  7. Interstellar Wars
  8. Doomsday Disco
  9. Death Penalty
  10. No Gods No War
  11. The Interplay of Life and Death
  12. Utopya
  13. Where Is All the Love

 
Disc 2: The Final Chapter of Mankind

  1. Adonai
  2. Lament for the Condemned
  3. Now We Are the Aliens
  4. Lost In Oblivion
  5. Traveller’s Wounds
  6. Wishing On a Scar

 
Lord of the Lost
Website, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, YouTube
Formalin
Website, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube
Out of Line Music GmbH
Website, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD (Standard)
Amazon CD (Deluxe)
Amazon MP3 (Deluxe)
Storming the Base CD (Standard)
Storming the Base CD (Deluxe)
Storming the Base CD (Box Set)
 
2016-07-29
 
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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